FCA US has received a certificate of conformity from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a conditional executive order from the California Air Resources Board (ARB), permitting the production and sale of FCA US 2017 model-year light-duty Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles equipped with 3.0-liter diesel engines.
The agencies’ approval was the product of several months of collaboration between FCA US and the EPA and ARB to address the agencies’ concerns with respect to the diesel emissions control technologies employed on earlier model-year versions of these vehicles.
The 2017 updates include modified emissions software calibrations, with no required hardware changes, and FCA US expects that the modified calibrations will have no effect on the stated fuel economy or the performance of these vehicles.
FCA US said it will continue to work closely with the agencies and seek their permission to use a version of the modified software to update the emissions control systems in the 2014-2016 model-year Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles that were the subject of the Notices of Violation (NOV) issued by EPA and ARB in January 2017. (Earlier post.)
FCA US said that it believes that the modified software can address the agencies’ concerns as to the emissions performance of those vehicles.
The approvals announced today represent a significant step toward resolving the issues raised by EPA and ARB. We appreciate the efforts of the agencies in working with us to achieve this milestone. We are anxious to build on this progress to make appropriate updates to the emissions control software in our earlier model-year vehicles.—Sergio Marchionne, CEO of FCA US and FCA
In May, the US Department of Justice, on behalf of the EPA, filed a civil complaint in federal court in Detroit, Michigan, against FCA. (Earlier post.) The complaint alleged that nearly 104,000 light duty diesel vehicles containing 3.0 liter EcoDiesel engines are equipped with software functions that were not disclosed to regulators during the certification application process, and that the vehicles contain defeat devices.
The complaint alleges that FCA equipped nearly 104,000 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles (Model Years 2014-2016) sold in the United States with at least eight software-based features that were not disclosed in FCA’s applications for certificates of conformity and that affect the vehicles’ emission control systems. The undisclosed software features lessen the effectiveness of the vehicles’ emissions control systems during certain normal driving situations. This results in cars that meet emission standards in the laboratory and during standard EPA testing, but during certain normal on-road driving emit NOx that are much higher than the EPA-compliant level.
The complaint alleges that each of these vehicles differs materially from the specifications provided to EPA in the certification applications, and thus the cars are uncertified, in violation of the Clean Air Act.
Following the issuance of the NOV, EPA continued its investigation into the operation of the undisclosed software-based features. Based upon this investigation, the complaint alleges that one or more of these undisclosed software features, alone or in combination with the others, renders inoperative, bypasses and/or defeats the vehicles’ emission control systems, which were installed to make the vehicles comply with Clean Air Act emission standards—i.e., that the vehicles contain defeat devices.